Friday, February 24, 2012

Better Off Dead (1985 Film)

by DionysusPsyche

In this comedy, John Cusack stars as Lane Meyer, a clutz of a teenager who keeps busy with his hobbies like skiing and drawing cartoons. The only thing he loves more is his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda Wyss)--beautiful, blonde, and ever popular with boys. One might call it an obsession, and everybody does except Lane.

When Beth ditches him for jock jerk Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier), Lane is beyond depressed. He decides that without Beth, life isn't worth living. His parents try to distract him by forcing him on bad dates, inviting over company, making terrible food, and pushing Lane into a job down at the local burger joint. He makes several failed attempts at suicide, and during that time makes a friend with the French, foreign exchange student named Monique (Diane Franklin) who is staying across the street with his boring neighbors, the Smiths.

With the help of his friend, Charles DeMar (Curtis Armstrong) and Monique, Lane realizes that killing yourself (literally and figuratively) over someone who doesn't want you is immature, pointless, and pathetic. Charles sticks by him, and Monique teaches him how to fix up the car his parents bought him, ski, and fall in love with someone who does like you without all the creepiness.
The movie is cheesy, very 80's, and worth a try. There are some excellent one liners, especially from Curtis Armstrong and some hilarious and weird situations that Lane finds himself in. It's chalkful of crazy, lovable characters who, while embarrassing in their own way, prove that life is about being silly, being yourself, and being loved for all that you are. While I wouldn't call this movie Cusack's greatest cinematic achievement, it is enjoyable, and I prefer it to One Crazy Summer and yes, Say Anything. All teenagers should watch it just to know that when one relationship ends, it doesn't mean that your world should too.

A good choice if you're looking for a short, silly film with the occasional singing hamburger (spoiler alert).

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